As summer approaches I am in the process of scheduling my “Summer Session” for my studio. Upon the recommendation of my studio’s scheduling guru and my dear friend, I have set-up my studio to run on a three-session basis.
I did this for several reasons:
· Accommodating my own children’s schedules and my family’s needs
· Accommodating our local school’s calendars as Jon Dittert discussed in his blog “Following the School Year”
· Accommodating my performance and directing schedule
· Accomodating my own need for time to refresh and recharge.
When I was teaching a non – stop – year round session, I found myself becoming tired and uninspired. I have now set-up my studio to allow me down-time in between sessions. I have my students perform in two recitals a year – one at the end of the Fall session in December or January, and one at the end of our Winter/Spring session in early June, which gives us a natural break point. I keep the studio open one week after the recital performance to re-cap the session and the recital. We discuss what the student has accomplished at that final lesson – and parents are encouraged to attend that lesson. Then I close up shop for a week or two and re-charge, perform, travel, tend to my family and home-life, and get to know my husband again!
I treat my summer session as an entirely different animal. I only teach 5-6 weeks in the summer – late June through the end of July – and then I close the studio for two weeks in early August. I find that this enables families to plan vacations and camps and still study with me. I also use this time to invite those off of my waiting list into my studio. I do have a few students who cannot study over the summer due to commitments away all summer long – I ask those students if they would like me to hold a place for them in my fall studio for them, which they all have wanted to do so far. This also gives a natural break time to filter out those students who are not as committed and to replace those eager to become involved from your waiting list.
I have chosen different dates to open my fall studio from mid-August to late September- due to the advantage of students knowing their schedules at that later date: which teams they will be playing on, if they got into the show and when rehearsals will be – prior to our setting a lesson time. Many students have musical auditions right at the beginning of the school year, so if the studio is closed for regular lessons, I offer special lesson times to help students prep for those early auditions- usually two or three lessons a week for a short few weeks of time.
This natural ending point with studio sessions gives me three bonuses as a teacher:
· I have an opportunity to focus energies toward a performance the last month prior to the recital and “taper” and polish my students performances and have some time to re-coup the energy I pour out to those performances, as we all must do when we are performing ourselves.
· I have a natural time during which parents can be updated on their students progress for my younger students and I can assess students progress and their next area to focus on.
· I have a natural re-scheduling time for lessons. I deal with a lot of lesson scheduling issues as shows begin and end and students are cast, and have to reschedule portions of my studio to accommodate those show schedules.
We are in the process of “tapering” toward our June recital now. All the music is memorized and the polishing has begun. This is my favorite time of the session- turning the practice into music!